Sunday, August 19, 2018
20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (13th Sunday after Pentecost/Proper 15)
The Revised Common Lectionary passages for the Lord’s Day are:
First Reading: I Kings 2:10-12, 3:3-14 Psalm 111:1-10
Second Reading: Ephesians 5:15-20
Gospel Reading: John 6:51-58
The liturgical color for the day is: Green
“…unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.”
There is in the Gospel of John no scene at the table in the Upper Room. There is no last supper where words of institution are spoken. There is, instead, this disconcerting statement about eating flesh and drinking blood. Is it any wonder most preachers, at this point in the lectionary in August, either choose to be on vacation or preach about Solomon in the Old Testament passage.
Aside from those options, we do well to remember that this is John and things can be read on that one plane of physical reality, but they can also need to be read on the vertical plane of spiritual life where God reaches down into our humanity pulling God’s very being and presence over us to shift our understanding and view of all.
On both those levels we do well to remember how John starts. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”
On that horizontal level where we are only talking about flesh, and bread, and blood—this text is kinda creepy. But, we are in John’s Gospel and we had better be considering this saying from the spiritual level—from that larger than what the words are level.
John is saying this Word became flesh. John is saying this about Christ. He is our flesh. He is our bread. He is our blood. He is—to John—our everything. Christ is our everything and he is in everything that we know and touch and are.
To limit him to less than that is to miss the very presence of God. Unless we really take that in—eat it like flesh and swallow it like drink and let it flow through us like blood—we miss the reality of how very present and real God is in Christ Jesus. To embrace how very real and present God is to us in Christ Jesus is to live this wisdom filled life that knows everything is both physical and spiritual all at the same time. Such insight becomes the wisdom of Solomon for us who seek to live as wise people, “making the most of the time.” (Ephesians 5:16a)